The reason your pipes freeze and burst is simply because of the standing water in them.
Your water pipes will have water left in them even if you haven't used them for awhile. If these pipes are not properly insulated, when the temperature gets to freezing or below - that water will freeze. And when it does, it expands taking up more space in the pipe than when it was liquid. The pressure in that pipe can go from 40 lbs per square inch up to 40,000 psi - that's a tremendous amount of pressure and as a result - the pipe bursts.
At What Temperature Do Pipes Burst?
The general rule of thumb is that if the temperature is 20 degrees fahrenheit or below for 6 consecutive hours or more - the likelihood that your pipes will freeze are very high. This of course depends on how well insulated they are.
So if you want to prevent your pipes from bursting and incurring the expense and trouble of dealing with leaks and cracked or burst pipes - your best solution is to keep them as well insulated as possible.
How To Prevent Pipes From Bursting
Following are some tips on how you can prevent your water pipes from bursting.
- For pipes that are in your garage - keep your garage door closed as much as possible. You want to try to keep that room as warm as you can.
- For pipes that are in your kitchen - open your cabinet doors (wherever the pipes may be) so that they can be exposed to the heat from the kitchen and the house.
- Keep your thermostat at the same temperature - keeping your thermostat at the same temperature day and night will help to keep your water pipes at a steady temperature.
- Insulation - insulating any exposed pipes (or any pipes that you can reach) will go a long way in keeping them from freezing.
- Keep water running - one little trick is to turn on a faucet that is furthest away from your water heater so that a trickle of water runs out of it. Keep that running while the temperature is 20 degrees fahrenheit or lower.
- Replace your pipes - Pex piping is more flexibile and less prone to cracks and bursts due to the temperature changes.
Do Pipes Burst In The Summer?
Yes, pipes can burst in the summer. In fact during the typically hottest months of July, August and September - it's not uncommon for water main bursts to occur. The intensive heat and higher than normal demand put on a strain on systems which may lead certain conditions causing leaks or breaks from being more likely.
The 3 main reasons that pipes burst in the summer are...
- Hot weather - The hot and humid weather in the summer is a major cause for water leakage. The soil can easily shift, which causes pipes to burst or become compromised due to their fragile state when under high temperatures for an extended period of time.
- Need for more water - During the summer months we shower more, water our lawns and plants often to keep them green. All this extra use means there's a lot of demand on your pipes which could lead to then bursting if they are rusting or old pipes.
- Clogged pipes - No matter if the weather is cold or hot, a clogged pipe can always cause water to burst. Maintaining your pipes by professional plumbers on an ongoing basis will save you money in the long run and be safe for everyone that lives at home with you too!
What causes burst pipes in the winter? When water freezes and expands, it can cause cracks and leaks to form. This process is called hydrostatic pressure. As a result of these damages caused by freezing water, some homeowners experience frozen pipes or even bursts during cold weather months like January.
There are many ways you can protect your home from this risk: insulate pipe materials as much as possible; use appropriate insulation on exterior walls where plumbing enters; wrap exposed pipes with heat tape; adjust the thermostat setting for faucets that have been left running at night (exposing them to colder temperatures); run hot water through all lines first thing every morning before turning off faucet.
These tips and more discussed in this article can help to keep your pipes from bursting.
If you have any questions about burst pipes or are having some problems with it, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-505-8570. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We Offer Frozen Pipe Repair in Metro Atlanta and Surrounding Areas
Fulton County, Bartow County, Cobb County, Paulding County, Cherokee County, Gwinnett County, and Douglas County.
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